EPA to Hold Hearings on Rules to Reduce Fracking Air Pollution

Being “forced” by a lawsuit, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) drafted new rules and regulations for oil and gas drillers that use hydraulic fracturing. The new rules require drillers to use new or improved processes and equipment (at great expense) in an attempt to cut the level of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other air pollutants the EPA says are emitted during the completion of hydraulically fractured wells. MDN wrote an extensive article on this, complete with a copy of the 604-page list of rule changes (see here).

The EPA is moving forward with several public hearings on the rule changes, the first of which will be in Pittsburgh on Sept. 27th.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will hold a hearing in Pittsburgh on its proposed first-ever emissions standards to control and reduce toxic air pollution from oil and gas wells that are hydraulically fractured like those tapping into the Marcellus Shale formation in Pennsylvania and other Appalachian states.

The EPA said the hearing, the first of three that will be held on the proposed rules is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 27, at the David Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown.

Hearings also will be held in Denver on Sept. 28 and in Arlington, Texas, Sept. 29.

The public can comment on the proposed rules — the first changes in oil and gas emissions regulations in decades — which would use existing technologies to reduce pollution from well drilling, leaking pipes, storage tanks and gas compressor stations. Those emissions contribute to smog and can cause cancer.

Such emissions control technologies, including capture of volatile organic compounds and other gases now routinely vented into the atmosphere, already are employed by some companies and required by some states, but not Pennsylvania.

The EPA must finalize the new emissions standards by Feb. 28 under a mandate in a court-ordered consent decree.*

*Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Sep 15, 2011) – EPA to hold a Pittsburgh hearing on drilling regulations

  • About time. We’ve been breathing toxic diesel fumes and assorted hydrocarbons spewing from compressor units for far too long. this is a rural area, and our air quality is bad enough from our glut of coal burning power plants. All we’re asking is for giant gas corporations to install pollution controls on their equipment. Since they’re raking in billions, this isn’t a huge burden for them. 

  • Anonymous

    I don’t believe a word of it!  If I am to believe the owner of this blog, there is no pollution or contamination from fracking.  It is perfectly healthy and safe and we should all just shut up and be happy the big gas companies are going to just come in and take if off our hands.  

    Really, I am so sad for you and your community.  We are working hard to keep ours from experiencing this situation.  Good luck.  

  • Question: If you don’t believe what I write, why do you keep reading it?

  • Anonymous

    I like to understand what the people who are trying to coerce my neighbors that this is a harmless endeavor are saying to convince them.  I think your question is a little silly.  Do you really think I keep reading this blog because I secretly believe what you’re saying?  Be honest with yourself, Jim.  

    I think you should all have your way but that all of you who obtain leases be held fully liable for all damages and dangers and cost to the taxpayers in your town that are the result of this community killer.  Isn’t that the Capitalist way?  Let the market weed out those who make mistakes and can’t regulate themselves?  Sounds like a plan to me.  How attractive would leasing your land be then?  Be honest.  Would it be worth it to you then?  Would you assert your belief in the safety of this practice if you were fully culpable and responsible for damages? Lease signors are partners with the gas companies after all.  I’m curious…

  • Anonymous

    You may not believe Jim so check out this Barnett Shale Air Emissions Study that found “No Significant Health Risks”. The $1 million study commissioned by the city of Ft. Worth found – “A
    comprehensive evaluation of gas exploration and production sites ‘did not reveal any significant health threats.’” You can read more about the study here: //www.energyindepth.org/2011/07/new-barnett-shale-air-emissions-study-finds-%E2%80%9Cno-significant-health-risks%E2%80%9D/

    or you can read the actually study here: //www.fortworthgov.org/gaswells/default.aspx?id=87074

  • Thanks Bill!

  • Anonymous

    I’ve read this report.  It came out a long time ago.  I guess it all comes down to how people describe “significant health risks”.  Actually, when I live on my own property and pay taxes and take care of my land in a way that keeps my neighbors safe, I would like to think that I won’t be exposed to ANY health risks as a result of the greed of those who live around me.  But that’s just me.  

  • Anonymous

    Here’s another one, this one from Sublette County, WY (Pinedale area).  //deq.state.wy.us/aqd/Ozone%20Forum/SubletteCountyToxicsStudy_Overview_Sept152010%5B1%5D.pdf.  It doesn’t go into all of the stuff Fort Worth’s study does, but in the end, here is what Wyoming’s main newspaper had to say: //trib.com/news/state-and-regional/article_342bc757-4734-5b59-9663-8633722c27f7.html.

  • Anonymous

    What actually is the meaning of significant? A little pollution here, a little there isn’t significant.  But, if you add all the emissions together coming from any one industry source and then base a study on combined totals, that makes a big difference.  Isn’t that why Pittsburgh was once known as a smoky city when steel mills were abundant there?  Update on Pittsburgh.  The city made the headlines again this morning for having badly polluted air, second only to San Francisco.  Now isn’t that a distinction?  What could be the cause?  Most studies produce half truths based on someone’s lack of knowledge as to what questions should be asked.  For instance.  The gas industry wants all to believe that fracking has been going on safely for sixty years without causing any water pollution.  What they aren’t telling you is that unconventional hydraulic fracking and drilling, involving deep well horizontal drilling has only been done in the last six or seven years, and I might add with lots of mishaps and mistakes.